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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wingsuit Base Jump 


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shakespeare in Video Games 

Somehow I ended up reading the Wikipedia entry on Silent Hill, and decided to go through all the plotlines of the various games, since it's been pretty critically acclaimed (plus it's been made into a movie and a sequel's in the works). The wikipedia article on Silent Hill 3 has this snippet:

"Players can set the difficulty of both the combat and puzzle elements of the game separately, with easy, medium and hard being offered in both cases.[8] In the case of the puzzle difficulties there is a large difference between medium and hard; one of the early puzzles on the medium setting requires only simple pattern recognition, whilst the hard version of the same puzzle requires considerable knowledge of five Shakespeare plays to complete."

That piqued my curiosity enough for me to go actually find what the puzzle was, which this Gamespot review helped with. 5 different Shakespeare plays, and then just a random puzzle using that info. Wow.

And people say you don't learn anything from games...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Dead Man Eating 

Last meals for people on death row. I've always wondered, who do they get to cook these things?


Habanera, Muppet Style 

Stolen from a friend's status message.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Secure Web Uploads 

An interesting, well-written and informative article on web uploads for websites.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

NYTimes 1996 Election Day Crossword 

I've been watching the documentary Wordplay, which is a documentary for the annual crossword puzzle competition on the East Coast. It references this crossword puzzle, which I thought was really, really cool.


Dancing Startups 

I really like the techcrunch title: "First Round Capital Literally Makes All Their Startups Dance"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ben Mezrich 

He's the guy who wrote Bringing Down the House, and this is an article giving biographical information and also talking about some of the factual inconsistencies in the book. I have no problem with people creating composite characters (hell, Changeling is actually a true story, and they still used composite characters there), but I do have problems with events that were "largely correct," mainly because I don't know what was changed. It's disingenuous to say that lawyers are just being too careful because of Frey. I was largely interested in that book (and was drawn in by the story) because it was true, all the things had happened. If I had known it was somewhat made up, I would have had a fairly different reaction.


Friday, December 12, 2008

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes 

Stolen from SL's status:

Thursday, December 11, 2008


MF told me about IMVU when we were roommates a few years ago, and I thought then it was doomed to a quick failure. But according to Wikipedia, "It has generated $1 million in revenue per month, 90% of which comes directly from consumers who buy IMVU credits and virtual goods, which really is pretty impressive for a graphical chat client. I saw this ad earlier today, though, which I thought was interesting.

Obama's Website 

Two interesting things I just noticed from a friend's status message. First, it's using Google Apps! Second, it's using Dory! The link goes to questions people have asked the Obama-Biden team.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Full Tilt Poker Pro Chat 

Full Tilt Poker hosts various chats with professional poker players, and then makes the archives available for viewing later. ES pointed me to Alan Boston's, which is pretty funny. Snippets:

QUESTION FROM Sharp1985: hows it going?

ANSWER FROM Alan Boston: i am looking at the high ceilings at my house and thinking thhis is a good place to hang myself

QUESTION FROM lsparks19: george carlin told me that walmart is havin' a sale on rope. no use spendin' alotta money to kill yourself. then again you could always just put it on the ol' credit card...wouldn't have to pay the %%#@in' thing

ANSWER FROM Alan Boston: i dont shop walmart. Perhaps whole foods is offering hemp rope

QUESTION FROM Insanity Later: you want to hang yourself

ANSWER FROM Alan Boston: I have no dreams

QUESTION FROM Cold Remedy: How would u go about turning $50 to $10,000??

ANSWER FROM Alan Boston: rob a bank


Wednesday, December 03, 2008


It's a comic chronicling one man's relationship with coffee.

I've been lax in my posting since I headed down to LA for Thanksgiving, but readers should be used to that by now. I will say that Reynolds Oven Bake Bags are not the miracle that the waitress at the Huntington Library Tea Room made them out to be.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Synecdoche, You're on Candid Camera 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pomegranate Phone 

Check out this ridiculously well-done website.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Californication, and Mia 

I fell in love with Californication last season, introducing David Duchovny in a whole new light. I never had a negative opinion of him (never saw Evolution or any of the supposedly terrible movies he's been in), but all I really knew about him came from X-Files, and it didn't seem like there was much, let's say, artistic depth to him in that show. But along came Californication, and I had a whole new respect for him. Not only does he turn in an awesome performance, but he also is just so damn funny that I can't help but respect him more. Plus it's got hot girls. One of whom is Mia Cross, who I just discovered has a YouTube channel and a Twitter feed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Facebook of Genesis 

Three people have sent me this link in three days, so I might as well post it.


Obama's Blackberry 

Poor Obama.

Lose the BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe
WASHINGTON — Sorry, Mr. President. Please surrender your BlackBerry.
Those are seven words President-elect Barack Obama is dreading but expecting to hear, friends and advisers say, when he takes office in 65 days.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DFW, Part 2 

I've been re-reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments for the third or fourth time, and a few days ago I decided to see what other of his non-fiction work I haven't been able to see. As a result, I just placed an order on Amazon for The Best American Essays 2007 (Edition 001) and for Signifying Rappers Race Urban Present, neither of which I'd heard about before. From there, I somehow found my way to McSweeney's DFW tribute. I had no idea the two were so intimately involved from the inception, and I'm going to be spending the next few days diving into the archives to see what gems I can pull.

But from that tribute, I found various other great DFW ... links, for want of a better word. Someone mentions that they received the news from Jason Zengerle's New Republic tribute to DFW, and from there, there's a link to DFW (I keep writing SFW, for some reason, which is also true) at the MOCA in San Diego, reading snippets from his Illinois State Fair piece, as well as his cruise piece.

It's entertaining watching him read, not just because it's his voice and his words, but also because the audience reactions really do shape the experience. It's worthwhile to watch, even if you've read all his work.

From that TNR post, there's a comment that excerpts his author's note for the Best American Short Stories collection he was part of.

"This is a bit embarrassing, and I'd rather not discuss it, but will, since certain authorities have been polite but firm about these little post-story discussions being strongly encouraged, and I'd probably submit with cheer to way more embarrassing requirements if it meant getting the old snout into the B.A.S.S. trough.

"The embarrassing issue here is I'm not all that crazy about this story. It's one of few autobiographically implicated things I've ever tried. I did, like probably lots of kids, have a high-dive trauma. My real trauma was much more plain-old-sphincter-loosening-fear-based than the existential conundra that this story's kid encounters. I basically got to the top, with a long line of jaded souls behind me, and changed my mind about going off. It was excruciatingly shaming, but in no way deeply or exceptionally shaming. I think it was the memory of the shame so much as current shame that allowed so pedestrian a shame to still haunt my esteem-centers, prompting me to make the story so heavy, meditative, image-laden, swinging for the fence on just about every pitch. The thing seems to me a performative index of every weakness I have as a writer and as a person. And God knows why I let my desire for an Alienated Narrative Persona lead me to use the second-person point of view; now I'm scared people will read this and think I'm just some McInerney imitator in a black turtleneck, a copy of Kierkegaard under my arm.

"The thing went through dozens of drafts, the first of which still sits in the pages of my undergraduate 'Stories That'll Prove I'm a Genius' notebook. . . . I'm noticing that, with respect to any piece of fiction, my dissatisfaction with the final draft is directly proportional to the excitement that precedes the first draft. I remember doing the tortured artist thing back in school, all ego and caffeine, and thinking I had a genuine Big Idea for this story here, and seeing it finished, Big, published, lauded as Important by bearded titans. This was before I even bothered to start to try writing the thing. I preconceived it as deeply moving and imposingly cerebral at the same time, at once tender-psyche'd and tough-minded, just the sort of thing Eminences would pluck out of the glabrous herd by choosing for a prestigious anthology. By the second draft, my head was more or less permanently attached to the wall I'd been pounding it on. In black-lit contrast to the timelessly Big thing, I'd preconceived, the actual ink-on-paper story seemed pretentious and trendy and jejune and any number of bad things: it seemed like the product of a young writer who was ashamed of a personal trauma and who was straining with every fast-twitch fiber to make that trauma sound way deeper and prettier and Big than anything true could every really be. And here I mean 'true' both artistically and historically.

"I don't know why I kept putting the thing through drafts. I kept getting late-night twinges of that original preconceptual excitement. I kept seeing the thing as maybe just one image or two epiphanies away from blossoming, from honoring its entelechy of Bigness. Six years and many other completed projects later, I sent this story out in the old brown envelope. I sent it out for the same reason most young writers I know send stuff out: to have an excuse to quit thinking about it. My surprise when _Fiction International_ took the thing was nothing compared to my feelings about the august endorsement that occasions this wordy little confession. Do not get me wrong: qualms about the story's failure to be anything more than a lumpy ghost of what I remain convinced was its initial promise of Bigness have not inhibited me from calling pretty much everybody I know and casually working in the B.A.S.S.-selection news. I'm extremely and yet of course also humbly grateful and moved and etc. I'm just coming to realize that I have very little personal clue about whether the stuff I do is good or bad or successful or not successful* which like most bits of self-knowledge is both mortifying and kind of a relief. It makes me glad I have opinionated critical friends and politely firm editors, not necessarily in that order."

" *Is 'successful' the same as 'good,' here? Does inclusion in B.A.S.S. render a story de facto 'good' the way a human reverend's pronouncement effects a legally binding union?"

Continuing down the DFW links, his piece for Rolling Stone about McCain is now available online, and should be required reading for anyone who's interested in the political process (especially in light of the most recent election), though DFW did talk about how the new McCain no longer commanded the same amount of respect that the McCain of the article did.

Similarly, his article for The Atlantic describing talk radio is also available, and they've even hyperlinked his footnotes so they pop-up with the content.

Thie post is getting rather long, so I'm going to send it out into the electronic wild, and post another as I go through the rest of the links I have open.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photoshop Mock 

Rush Plays Rush's Tom Sawyer on Rock Band 

This video combines many things I like: the song Tom Sawyer, by Rush, the Colbert Report, and Rock Band. Ever since I played the original Guitar Hero, I've always been curious just how accurately these games capture the songs, and how well the original artists would do on these songs. People that complain about how the games aren't a good imitation of the song miss the point that these are games, not music simulations. We're not trying to teach kids how to read music here (unlike possibly the newly released Wii Music), but instead providing a fun experience that imiates being a rock hero.

Anyway, Rush plays their Rock Band version of the song, which I found immensely entertaining (more so than most, probably...):

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Colbert and Stewart at the 2007 Emmys 

I've watched this clip at least ... 20 times? I still think it's the best award show presentation I've seen.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

History of the User Agent String 

It's an extremely nerdy article, but well written and interesting to me. Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:

In the beginning there was NCSA Mosaic, and Mosaic called itself NCSA_Mosaic/2.0 (Windows 3.1), and Mosaic displayed pictures along with text, and there was much rejoicing.

And behold, then came a new web browser known as “Mozilla”, being short for “Mosaic Killer,” but Mosaic was not amused, so the public name was changed to Netscape, and Netscape called itself Mozilla/1.0 (Win3.1), and there was more rejoicing. And Netscape supported frames, and frames became popular among the people, but Mosaic did not support frames, and so came “user agent sniffing” and to “Mozilla” webmasters sent frames, but to other browsers they sent not frames.

And Netscape said, let us make fun of Microsoft and refer to Windows as “poorly debugged device drivers,” and Microsoft was angry. And so Microsoft made their own web browser, which they called Internet Explorer, hoping for it to be a “Netscape Killer”. And Internet Explorer supported frames, and yet was not Mozilla, and so was not given frames. And Microsoft grew impatient, and did not wish to wait for webmasters to learn of IE and begin to send it frames, and so Internet Explorer declared that it was “Mozilla compatible” and began to impersonate Netscape, and called itself Mozilla/1.22 (compatible; MSIE 2.0; Windows 95), and Internet Explorer received frames, and all of Microsoft was happy, but webmasters were confused.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Gmail Art (in Russian) 

Experience Wii Inspiration 

This was the inspiration for the Experience Wii YouTube page, and is pretty cool in its own right.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Heidi Klum in Underwear 

Something I saw on a profile. Guitar Hero World Tour might not be a better game than Rock Band 2, but it's definitely got better ads. Case in point:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Organizers 

If you want something to do after basking in the post-electoral victory, take a look at this article which has an interesting breakdown of the Obama ground campaign, detailing just how they empowered their volunteers to build a group that helped propel him to victory.


Starcraft 2 Exhibition Map 

At Blizzcon 2008, there was an exhibition match for the first time ever showcasing Starcraft 2. The two players are a Warcraft 3 player, and a Starcraft player. It's pretty cool, you don't get to see necessarily all the new units, but you do get to see some of them, as well as some of the new gameplay mechanics, like the towers that let you see, and the rocks that are destroyable.

I like the text at the beginning of the second match (didn't notice the first):
1: gg hf
2: GoodLuck


Sunday, November 02, 2008

McCain on SNL 

I don't think I've yet talked about how awesome Hulu is. I generally like having downloaded content so that I can scan through it, but for an online video site, Hulu's done a great job of searchable videos, filtered by popular, recently added, user rated, etc. The quality is surprisingly good, and there's only a few commercials run per segment. My one (extremely small) complaint would be the repetitiveness of the ads--I've seen the same commercial run three times in one thirty-minute episode. And for all I know, it's been fixed, I haven't watched anything that long in awhile.

In fact, that's where Hulu shines the most for me, the ability to watch short clips, especially in this election season. The clips I've seen of SNL this season have been pretty good, and the quality is definitely better than YouTube. Here's some of the clips I've been watching (over and over):

McCain SNL Cold Open.

The Office: Japan Edition.

And I linked to this before, but I've watched it three times in the last two days... Iran So Far.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We Can Vote However We Like 

WoW: Obama vs. McCain 

Sarah Palin Porn 

Ok, not exactly. It's the script as read by Ricky Gervais and Thandie Newton.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thriller Acapella 64 Voices 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mercenary and Flamethrower on Amazon 

It's a promo for an upcoming game, but this has to be done with Amazon's blessing, right? Mercenary and Flamethrower.

Brokers Hands on Their Faces 


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Charlie Brown Isn't as Bad as You Think 

I couldn't steal the actual post's title ("You’re Going Sadly Unrecognized In Certain Quarters, Charlie Brown"), which is much more clever than what I came up with, but it really highlight some good Peanuts cartoons. I'll admit that I'm of that attitude, that there was a noticeable decline in quality of the cartoon in the later years of it, but maybe I should go back and read them.

There has to be a sociological paper in there somewhere, in looking at why Peanuts doesn't have the same appeal to our generation that it did to previous ones.


Japanese Graduation 

Obama in Pictures 

Got it from CW, who says "Keep going until you see him doing pullups."


Friday, October 17, 2008

Al Smith Dinner 2008 

There are some great lines, by both McCain and Obama.

10 Geeky Marriage Proposals 

Courtesy BS, some of these are awesome. Reddit??


Is it possible to forget someone that you talked to just 5 seconds ago? 

Courtesy CW:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Many Faces of McCain 

Monday, October 13, 2008


To be fair, I never heard one person call it that while I was there. No Windy City, Second City, or any of a myriad list of names that Wikipedia references. What I did bring away were the following observations.

The people of Chicago are a friendly bunch, from the two African-Americans who gave me directions to Upper Wicker Street, to the Obama supporters with matching shirts with his picture who were on the shuttle to the Indiana casino. The casino itself was Horseshoe Hammond Casino, a riverboat casino that according to Yelp got renovated somewhat recently, and at the steak restaurant upstairs, I overheard a conversation from the table next door where the (very) Caucasian man talked loudly about how he'd just discovered a great Oriental grocery store with fresh fish taking up floor space for 60 meters.

Now I was under the impression that "Oriental" went out of style multiple decades ago (unless you count Monopoly), but more recently, I was at Starbucks in downtown Palo Alto with some friends, when some crazy homeless guy stopped by our table, leaned close to one of the guys at the table, and whispered in a conspiratorial tone, "I think they prefer the term 'Oriental,' instead of 'Asian.'"

Back to Chicago. The main reason I was there was to eat at moto, what someone described to me as "the most intellectually challenging meal of my life." Can't pass up on that. I took lots of pictures with my shiny new DSLR, which I'll put up at some point, but after that, we attended iO Chicago, evidently one of Tina Fey's stepping stones to greatness.

Afterwards, our cabdriver back to the hotel was one of the funnier ones I've had in awhile, regaling us with various jokes on the ride. I dislike relating jokes in print form, so I'll just say they involved a shitfaced condom, a boy and his S & M magazine, and a joke about affairs and unintelligent partners.

And the last vignette involves the bell attendant at my hotel, who took my suitcase from me after I told him I didn't need any help, and then muttered "no change?" under his breath (at least I'm pretty sure he did) as he put my suitcase in. Hey, I said I didn't need help. I did notice his shaking his head as my cab pulled away.

Eh, cheap Asians. What can you do.


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